(New York, NY) – Wednesday, October 10, 2018 is Stem Cell Awareness Day, and research institutions across New York are joining the Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) to spread the news that groundbreaking stem cell research is happening across the state. This year also marks 20 years since scientists first discovered how to derive stem cells, leading to a medical revolution.
“Unfortunately at least once in their lives most people are faced with someone close to them who is battling a disease such as cancer, diabetes, HIV, Alzheimer’s or heart disease. Luckily, scientists are making strides in advancing breakthrough discoveries in pursuit of new treatments—thanks to stem cells,” said Jo Wiederhorn, President of AMSNY. “Many of these incredible advancements have been made by researchers right here in New York, thanks to the New York State Stem Cell Science Program.”
Stem cells open up new avenues for biomedical researchers because of their unique ability to develop into many different types of cells, making it possible to study many disease types, and to repair and replace any damaged body tissue. They allow researchers to model diseases in labs so they can study their progression, develop personalized treatments, and test existing drugs for new uses. And, stem cells can replicate indefinitely, making them abundant.
As part of AMSNY’s efforts to raise awareness, the organization is working with research institutions to promote stem cell research findings via social media using #StemCellAwarenessDay, and releasing a series of short videos that explain stem cell research.
It’s important to note that while stem cells represent the next frontier of medical breakthroughs, federal funding for stem cell science is limited. That’s why New York State created the Stem Cell Science program (NYSTEM) in 2007 to fund stem cell research. It has been tremendously successful, leading to more than $152 million in additional support from other sources, and creating over 750 jobs across the state, in addition to advances in healthcare.
NYSTEM-funded research happening in New York State includes:
- Research to treat age-related macular degeneration (blindness) with adult retinal stem cell transplants.
- Studying schizophrenia using cerebral organoids, in which stem cells are grown into “mini-brains” that resemble the developing human brain in its earliest stages.
- Using stem cell models of brain tumors, colon cancer, and more to screen existing drugs for effectiveness in fighting these illnesses.
- Discovering a new class of stem cells that have properties allowing them to develop into various types of heart cells, to home in on the site of an injury and repair it.
- Exploring novel treatments for devastating inherited diseases affecting a patient’s enzymes, including Krabbe, Gaucher and Tay-Sachs diseases.
The Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY) is the consortium of the 16 public and private medical schools throughout New York State. AMSNY’s mission is to be the voice of medical education in New York State, advancing biomedical research, diversity in medical school and the physician workforce, and high quality, cost-efficient patient care. The combined economic impact of New York’s medical schools economic is more than $85.6 billion, meaning that $1 in every $13 in New York State’s economy is related to AMSNY medical schools and their primary hospital affiliates. For more information about AMSNY, please visit: www.amsny.org